Tuesday Tutorials- Choux Paste + Strawberry Rose Eclairs


Choux paste is magical stuff. It’s a simple mix of eggs, flour, butter and milk, but the result is glorious. Mix some cheese into it and once it’s baked it becomes gougeres. Boil small pieces of it and it’s Parisienne gnocchi. Add some apples to the mix and fry it and it’s a fritter. Pipe it into little balls and your nearly at a profiterole, or cream puff. Pipe it a bit longer and you’ve nearly made an eclair.

Seriously, there is little that choux paste can’t do. It’s pretty amazing. You should learn how to make it. Stat.

I don’t know if this happens to everyone, but people always make professional jokes about me, the most common is calling me eclair. This is the lame joke that every man over the age of 65 says when I say I’m a baker

“Oh, really? Should we call you Eclair?” No dude, Claire will do just fine.

But to avoid being bitter and I’ve decided I just need to get crazy good at making eclairs. Somehow this feels like retaliation, even if almost no one knows how good I am at them but me. This way I can chuckle to myself and think at how awesome my eclairs are when old men say this to me.

It’s silly, I know it. But it makes me feel better.

This eclairs are pretty fantastic, if I may. They are super fresh tasting, filled with a whip cream that’s spiked with crushed strawberries, and a bit of vanilla. Then they are carefully dipped into fondant that’s scented with rosewater.

These are kind of ridiculously good. I ate an astonishing number of them.

So many in fact, that I lied to my boyfriend about how many I made. And then I felt no guilt. About the eating or the lying. They were that good.  


Rose Eclairs

Adapted from the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook

1 1/4 c AP Flour

2tbsp Sugar

1cup Water

4oz Butter

1 tsp Salt

1cup Eggs

Strawberry filling:

1 cup Whipping Cream

1 cup Strawberries

2 tbsp Icing Sugar. 


1 cup White Fondant

1 tsp Rosewater, or as needed. 

In a medium pot, melt the butter. 

Add in the water and bring to a boil. 

Mix in the salt and flour and stir for about 4 minutes, until it is very thick and the flour is cooked. 

Put the flour mixture into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. 

Start beating on medium speed. Add in one egg.

Wait until it is fully combined before adding the next, continueing this until all the eggs are combined and the mixture is soft, shiny and smooth. This is your choux paste!

Fit a piping bag with a large star tip, and transfer the choux paste into it. Pipe the shape of an eclair onto your prepared trays, being as careful as you can to make them the same sizes. 

Bake for about 25 minutes, rotating the tray half way through baking. 

Allow to cool. 

Meanwhile make the filling:

Mash up strawberries as finely as you can- this can be done in the food processor or simply with a fork. Strain them through a fine seive. 

Whip the cream to stiff peaks, mix in the icing sugar.  

Fold the strawberry puree in. Transfer to a piping bag with a thin round tip and move to the fridge until ready to use. 


In a double boiler melt the fondant. 

Add in the rosewater and stir to combine. Check for taste. 




Valentines Breakfast for Dinner- Pancakes with Raspberry Rose Syrup

Here’s the thing of it, guys just don’t like Valentines Day. I have never heard a man sound excited about buying flowers that are suddenly double the price two weeks into February. I have never been told that a male friend is really excited to take their girl out for dinner, or to a show, and I think that’s mostly because men really don’t like being told what to do. So they don’t like being told they have to be romantic. They’re stubborn like that.

Here’s the other thing, all girls like Valentines. Even the tomboy-est of ladies wants a day of the year where the door is opened for her, and roses are sitting out on the table when she gets home. It’s a silly day, but it’s also wonderful. It’s a day of romance, and it’s a day for pink. And I will make no claims pretending to be above it.

It’s just fun.

But what isn’t fun is how expensive it is to go out on Valentines, how much more restaurants charge for things, and how busy it is. Which is why, when I’m not working, Jordan and I make dinner in on Valentines. And this year, I’m proposing pancakes.

I love breakfast for dinner. It is my absolute favourite. It is simple, and not fussy, but it feels special. It feels indulgent, and it feels a little bad for you, and if you have pancakes for dinner, you’ve already had your sweets and you don’t need dessert!

It’s extra festive if you cut out some hearts from pretty paper and sew them onto string, and tie that string onto a couple of skewers so that you have heart bundting on your pancakes. But you don’t have to.

These pancakes are incredibly good, they are the lightest fluffiest pancakes I have ever encountered, and they are best when they are smothered with this raspberry-rose sauce. Just please don’t go and buy the raspberries that are imported from Argentina (unless you live in Argentina, in which I’m super jealous) I used some lovely frozen local ones and they are all kinds of delicious.

Super Fluffy Pancakes with Raspberry Rose Syrup


1 1/2cups Sugar

1/3 cup Water

1cup Raspberries

1 tsp Rosewater- or to taste


(adapted from Oh So Sinfully Delicious)

2cups AP Flour

1 tbsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Salt

1/4 cup Sugar

1 cup Buttermilk, or regular milk with a tsp of lemon juice mixed in.

1/4 cup Melted Butter

2 Eggs

In a small saucepan mix the water and sugar, and over low heat allow all the sugar to dissolve. Add in the raspberries and bring to a boil. Add in the rosewater, adding more depending on your preference and how strong your rosewater is- just don’t add so much it gets perfumey.

In a medium sized bowl mix together all the dry ingredients.

In another bowl mix together the milk, butter and eggs.

Quickly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until barely combined and still lumpy.

Warm a frying pan to a low heat and add in the oil. Add in big spoonfuls of the batter into the pan. When bubbles start to appear in the top fly the pancakes over.

Cook over low heat- the batter is very thick and they will take a little longer to cook then you may be used to, but don’t rush it by raising the temperature or they will burn.

Just put them on a plate and smother then with syrup and eat up!

Wanting to Travel...

I love going to cafes and little breakfast and lunch restaurants.

I love sweet little spots with great coffee, wonderful little baked goods, and maybe a sandwich or a salad that tastes fresh and like it was made with love.

I love the places that you don’t feel strange having a bite to eat alone, and that you can sit for an hour with a book and be very content just like that.

Which is to say that when I was in London last fall I fell madly, deeply, overwhelmingly in love with Ottolenghi.

Oh it’s just… just perfect.

It’s clean and crisp, it’s mostly white with some bright read details. It has a large counter filled with the most perfect salads. Ones like Brocolini with Chilis and Almonds, or Braised Globe Artichokes, with Broad Beans, Pink Peppercorns and Preserved Lemons. And then just past the heavenly salads are the baked goods.

The most beautiful Pistachio Cakes, dripping with rosewater icing, and Blackberry Friands, and dense and wonderful Chocolate cake you’ve ever had.

It’s the sort of place you could go everyday for a month and not try the same thing twice.

It’s the sort of place that’s hard not to fall in love with.

And fortunately for those of us not living in London there are cookbooks and a weekly column in The |Guardian for us to steal his recipes and try to replicate it at home.

Which is what I did the other day when I was in dire need of some sweets.

The recipe for these came from the Guardian and it called for blackberries but it’s to early for them here so I went with rhubarb, and then because I love rose so much I put some of that in the icing which really was wonderful.

These cakes are very moist and very rich, thanks largely to the addition of ground almonds in them. Because of that they will stay very moist for several days, so it’s a great cake to make in advance of something, or just to keep in a jar for a week and eat one a day. But they are so pretty, they would also be perfect for an afternoon tea.

Rose Scented Rhubarb Almond Cakes

4 big stalks of Rhubarb, washed and cut into 1centimeter (about 1/2 inch) pieces.

1/2 cup sugar


10 egg whites
100g plain flour
300g icing sugar
180g ground almonds
1tbsp Vanilla extract
⅓ tsp salt
Grated zest of ½ lemon
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and left to cool, plus extra for greasing


1 cup Icing sugar

1 tbsp Rose water

1 tsp Lemon Juice

Preheat oven to 400F

On a parchment lined baking sheet spread cut rhubarb out in a single layer and then sprinkle sugar on top. Bake for about 20 minutes or until rhubarb is just beginning to get soft. Take out of the oven and let cool.

Turn heat down to 350F.

Butter mini bundt pans, mini loaf pans, or mini cupcake pans.

Whisk up the egg whites until they’re frothy, but not full whipped.

Add in the lemon zest, melted butter and vanilla.

Sift in all the dry ingredients and fold gently together.

Then fold in the roasted rhubarb and spoon into the prepared trays and bake until an inserted skewer comes outs with only a few moist crumbs, about 15-25 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

To make the icing mix all the ingredients together until smooth. If it looks a little thick, add in some water or more lemon, if it looks thin add in some more icing sugar.

And then drizzle them on the very tops of each, the icing will run down and leave lovely little drips around each of them.

Cake and Roses


I have lived in Vancouver for 4 years now but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss Toronto sometimes. I miss the hot hot summers, the bustling streets and the art galleries and museums. But not even a tiny part of me misses Toronto in March. It is a hideous time in Toronto, all sludge and grey sky’s and, while we may have clouds in Van, we also have cherry blossoms. It is overwhelming how beautiful the streets of East Van are these days. Whole streets are pink with petals. East Vancouver may have a bad reputation but my goodness there is no nicer place on earth in early spring than the side streets of Commercial Drive.

So when I was asked to make a birthday cake this weekend I knew it would be have to be girly and floral, because all I can smell is flowers and all I can think of is summer. So here is a pound cake with vanilla rose buttercream. It’s unbelievably moist with lots of vanilla and just a hint of lemon. And a hint of rose too. Because it’s spring, and there’s something very romantic about spring.

Vanilla Pound Cake

1c Butter

2 1/4 cup Sugar

3 3/4 cup Pastry Flour

1 tsp Salt

2 tbsp Vanilla

Zest of 1 Lemon

3 Eggs

1 cup Buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350F

Butter and flour 2 7 inch cake pans

In a mixer with the paddle attachment cream Together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes

Add in the eggs one at a time beating well between each addition.

Add in the zest and the vanilla extract beating again for another minute.

Add in one third of the dry ingredients, then half the buttermilk.

Repeat again until all the ingredients have been just combined, do not overmix.

Spoon into prepared pans

Vanilla-Rose Buttercream

1lb Butter, room temperature

8ox Sugar

4oz Egg Whites

2 Vanilla Beans

2 tsp Rose Water

Zest of one Lemon

Split the vanilla beans in half and scrape our the seeds out.

Break up the beans in a metal bowl with the sugar. Just squish them together, the abrasiveness of the sugar will do this easily.

Mix the egg whites into the sugar and set over a small pot of water on medium high heat on the stove. Whisk.

Keep whisking until it is frothy and is hot to the touch.

Remove from heat and pour mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk on high for about 5 minutes or until stiff peaks appear and the mixture is very glossy.

On medium speed whisk in butter knob by knob. If it starts to look split don’t panic, just add in a big chunk of butter and it should come back. Add in the lemon zest, the rose and a bit of vanilla if you think you need more. Taste and make sure the rose is strong enough for you (sorry I forgot to take a picture at this point)

Now cut the cakes in half lengthwise.

Put a dob of icing down on your cake stand and put your first layer of cake down. put a thick layer of icing on top and spread it out with a spatula.

Then coat the outside with a thin layer of icing and refridgerate until cool and solid.

Now ice it however you’d like!